I’ve been an advocate of the all natural, birthing process, including breastfeeding for a long time, even before I had kids. It’s what a women’s body was made to do, and even though I needed ceasars for all my babies to make it safely into the world, I still believe that natural is the way to go. This goes for breastfeeding too. My first experience of breastfeeding was pumping every three hours in the hospital while my first baby, Asher, lay in the NICU with a terminal infection. It all ended rather abruptly and painfully when he passed away after nine days.
My second breastfeeding experience was, for lack of a better description, perfect. Cal latched beautifully, my milk came in abundantly and we enjoyed the breastfeeding journey together for sixteen months. It was at this point I started to get ill. I had some sort of virus that wouldn’t leave and in order to be treated I needed to stop breastfeeding, cold turkey, or risk ending up in hospital and having to stop anyway. At sixteen months I figured it was okay because I’d given it such a good run, so I let it go quite gratefully.
Along came Shaw.
I fell pregnant with Shaw quite soon after going off the pill, and hadn’t quite regained the weight I’d lost from my illness, and I was a little concerned that would play a roll in the pregnancy or the birth. Pregnancy went reasonably trouble free, and birth was normal (ceasar). Then two weeks into breastfeeding I started getting sick again. Nothing was working, I got infections and stomach flu and it all continued for almost six weeks when my GP advised that my iron levels where taking a dive from the breastfeeding, and if I didn’t stop immediately, I’d end up in hospital again with another iron transfusion and would have to stop breastfeeding anyway. Breastfeeding at this point was going really well. I had an abundance of milk, as usual, and could probably have fed a second baby with my abundant supply. It wasn’t that I didn’t have enough milk, it was a question of wellbeing.
My son is only nine weeks old. How can I stop now?!?!
It wasn’t a difficult decision, to choose being healthy for my family over breastfeeding one child and becoming useless for months from illness, but it was an emotional one. I knew that my youngest would never get ALL the benefits that breastfeeding provides, he’d miss out on crucial immunity and his milk may not always be warm. Funny how a mamas mind works. But, we had no choice, we had to make the most of our window of opportunity to move him onto formula bottles while it was still less obvious to him, and possibly less traumatic to move over.
My only option was to quit.
It didn’t take long for him to take a bottle (second type we tried he liked), we stocked up on them and formula and all the other paraphernalia that goes with cleaning and sterilizing bottles. I started to express to mix the milk and hoped like heck that stopping the breastmilk would be painfree, hahaha.
So, after a weekend of excruciating pain, a round of Dostinex, a good bra and some serious pain killers, my milk is almost dry and my son drinks his bottles like he’s done it since he left the womb, why was I so worried???
The irony is not lost on me that I’m so pro natural and have such different experiences with my children, it just shows you, you cannot plan what life will throw at you, you can only respond to it.
Image: Impact Photography